New Haytor Information Centre
The construction phase of the new Centre has now come to an end and handover of the building took place on 10 April. We are delighted with the design and quality of the building which achieves our aim of developing a Centre which is appropriate to its location and surroundings.
The landscaping and path immediately at the front of the building have been started enabling the new toilet facilities to be opened in advance of the main Centre.
The timetable for the final phase of the work is tight if we are to achieve our aim of opening the new Centre on 23 May 2008. This phase of the work is complex and involves many different contractors, as well as our own staff, to fit among other things fire and intruder alarms, a hearing loop, data cabling and IT equipment, as well as carrying out the shop-fitting and laying the carpet. At the same time the interpretation boards, leaflets and children’s interactive games are being prepared ready for installation in time for opening.
We are also pleased to be able to report that our bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund has been successful. This funding will support the enhancement of the interpretative elements of the project including enabling us to install Virtual Haytor in the Centre, develop a childrens’ exploration guide and interactive display. It will also support the cost of the landscaping works and allow us to undertake some outreach and training activities over the summer.
We are also working to develop plans for a coach parking area at the rear of the Centre. This will help to alleviate problems of parking in the lower car park and enable coaches to unload their passengers safely away from the road. This development is subject to planning consent and is likely to be complete in around September 2008.
Haytor building progress - January 2008
Progress with the build since Christmas has been rapid and the building is really taking shape. The exterior work on the building is nearing completion: the roof is complete, the external cladding is almost finished and the windows and doors were installed last week.
We are now turning our attentions to the interior of the Information Centre. We are continuing to ensure sustainable choices are made where possible, including environmentally friendly paints, carpet tiles made from recycled materials, and entrance matting made from recycled vehicle tyres.
We are continuing our discussion with the specialist shop-fitter and have started to plan the interpretative materials such as audio-visual programmes, walks publication, leaflets and images.
Discussions are also underway concerning the external landscaping to the front of the new Centre which will follow the removal of the existing toilets and portacabin after Easter. In addition consideration is being given to options for the creation of dedicated coach parking at the rear of the new Centre. More information will be available on this as plans develop.
Much remains to be done but we anticipate that the new Centre will be open at the end of May 2008.
Haytor building progress - December 2007
Despite the recent bout of bad weather the contractors are continuing to make good progress with the build.
Over the last few weeks the block work has been completed for the walls, and the timber frame studwork constructed. Work has also begun on the roof structure. The roof will be finished using Delabole slate from Cornwall and we anticipate that this will be completed early in the New Year.
We are continuing to pursue sustainable options within the build wherever possible. There is a significant amount of timber in the structure and we are delighted that the timber used so far for both the frames and roof structure has been supplied by a local sawmill from sources in Devon and Cornwall.
The work on the roof structure also includes construction of a bat loft. At present brown long-eared bats occasionally roost in the current toilet block. As bats are a protected species a licence was needed from Natural England to demolish their existing roost. This is conditional on providing an alternative roost in the new Centre.
Haytor building progress - December 2007
We have also starting discussing the design of the interior for the Information Centre with a specialist shop-fitter to help us develop a solution that can fulfil the multiple functions of information and interpretation provision, and sales. The building design incorporates a large orientation window which will allow visitors to enjoy views across the Down and up to Haytor Rocks and this will be a key element of the interpretation component of the new Centre.
The new Centre is planned to be open at the end of May 2008.
Haytor building progress - October 2007
1 October 2007 saw the start of construction of the long awaited new Information Centre at Haytor. This will replace the existing portakabin and toilet block and will be sited on enclosed land owned by the National Park Authority adjacent to the site of the current Centre.
The new Centre will include a variety of information and interpretation to further promote the understanding and enjoyment of the area of Haytor Down and enhance the visitor experience. The Centre will be complemented by enhanced guided walks, a self-guided walks publication and educational activities.
The building has been designed incorporating sustainability options for example making use of natural or recycled materials, such as sheep wool insulation and blocks with high recycled content, and ensuring the use of locally sourced materials, wherever possible. The building will also incorporate energy efficient lighting and heating, and a rainwater collection system for use in the toilets.
The contract was awarded to Imperial Construction in early September, initial ground preparations starting in the week beginning 24 September and the construction started the following week. Rapid progress is being made: the foundations are laid, the floor sub-structure is in place and work has started to accommodate the rainwater collection system.
So far the Haytor weather has been kind and if this continues to allow the build project to stay on programme, then we hope that the new Centre will be open at the end of May 2008.
Haytor building progress 23 October 2007